August 10, 2022

Evaluating the Rich Rodriguez experiment with Ole Miss

Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Rich Rodriguez addresses the media after spring practice, 24/7 Sports

The spread master has coached three SEC games as the Rebels’ Offensive Coordinator and the team been putting up enough points to win games.

Rich Rodriguez has been utilizing the speed and talent on the roster while he transitions to the SEC’s style of play. His scheme has been productive thus far and Ole Miss has scored 31 points in each of its’ first three conference games, winning two.

Ole Miss had a season-opening loss to No. 23 Memphis, another to a previously-ranked California team and No. 1 Alabama. At this point sitting at 3-3 on the year is actually a solid start and the offense has been the main reason why.  In all three of the Rebels’ wins this season the team has averaged 34 points per game and outscored their opponents 102-52.

In hindsight Rodriguez has made an immediate impact on the program. After all he has a great track record with dual-threat quarterbacks, including Pat White at West Virginia, Denard Robinson at Michigan and Khalil Tate at Arizona.

Rodriguez is at again and this time it’s with true freshman signal-caller John Rhys Plumee. He has been a nice replacement for the Rebels’ offense after starting quarterback Matt Corrral injured his ribs in the loss against the Golden Bears.

Plumee has been more effective with his mobility than Corral. Rodriguez’s offense operates smoothly when there’s a quarterback behind center that can take it to the house. Senior running back Scottie Phillips has surpassed the century mark in rushing twice this season and the backfield has been productive moving the ball on the ground.

Now the offense will need to be just as effective when the Rebels takes their show on the road for the third time this season. Ole Miss has yet to win a game away from home this season and has lost four-straight dating back to last year.

Missouri has some offensive firepower and won four-straight since dropping its’ season-opener. The big challenge for Rodriguez will be moving the ball on the Tigers’ defense. Missouri has been playing lights out on that side of the ball and will try to take advantage of Plumee’s lack of experience.

It’s still up in the air if Missouri star quarterback Kelly Bryant will play after he suffered a leg injury from a dirty play by Troy defender last Saturday. Still, Rodriguez will need to have his unit ready to play because Saturday’s game in Columbia could easily turn into an offensive shootout.

Regardless of the matter Ole Miss is getting into the chunk of its’ conference schedule. Navigating through the remaining games will show how far the offense has come under Rodriguez.